Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Winter? What Winter?

So far we've been greeted with nothing but smiles from the people here in New Zealand.  Especially on Waiheke, a cheery disposition seems to be the norm.  As is common in many small island communities, having a chat takes priority over work and a smile and a wave is enough to make anyone your friend.  

The warnings we received about leaving Bozeman winter to head into New Zealand's chilly months and the toll it could take on our psyches has been null thus far.  When we arrived to see flowers in bloom, strawberries growing along the driveway, and the pepper plants still fruiting we knew we'd be okay.  The doors to our sleepout stay open all day, as soon as the sun comes up my socks and shoes come off, and taking a shower outdoors is far more practical than it would be in December in Montana.  I haven't gone swimming yet but the water is considerably warmer than Lake Michigan where Anne and I jumped in a couple of weeks ago. 

Shoveling shit with a view
The views from the farm are magnificent.  While picking my dinner from the garden yesterday evening, the sunset over Auckland lit the whole sky on fire.  It felt as if all the air around me was orange.  Today a neighbor took us to couple of higher points on the island where we could better grasp the beauty of the land and water surrounding us.  The coastline of Waiheke is an endlessly interesting contour of bays, beaches, bluffs, and...I'm out of "b" words.  There are miles of walking trails (which they call tramping tracks) that meander their way along these bluffs, down to otherwise hidden beaches, through sheep pasture, past vineyards, and into towns.  It certainly isn't the same as hiking in Montana but I have a feeling that these trails and the ocean beyond are going to provide just as much if not more adventure, as well as place to find tranquility and a bit of solitude when necessary. 

On a different note, I drove on the "wrong" side of the road for the first time the other day!  Chad and I were both given driving lessens so that we can use the vehicle on the farm.  We've both done quite well so far, although Chad is more willing to "practice" than I am.  It is a little different but not as difficult as I thought it would be.  However, I think I'll stick to driving on the island and not take my chances in Auckland anytime soon. 

This first week most of our time is spent reading notes passed on to us by previous employees and  getting to know the garden.  Chad's on a mission to eradicate the rats from the orchard (or should I say i'rat'icate), examine every tool in the toolshed, and fix every minor imperfection about the property.  I, on the other hand, am attempting to master the breadmachine, figuring out how many items from the garden I can combine into one meal, and deciding what should be planted next so that we will be eating well all winter long.  And both of us have spent hours on the computer researching exactly how we grow plants we've never seen before.  Some, like bananas or pineapples, we've eaten but have never propagated.  Others, like the mountain paw paw or the Tamarillo, we've never even heard of.  Amazing!  I'm still not sure what kind of people let two relatively untraveled kids from the northern United States (one from a land-locked state) come and manage their farm in the southern hemisphere on an island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, but we're getting to know them. 

It's been so sunny since we arrived, and as a result, hard for me to sit in front of the computer and write.  But we've been told to expect a lot of rain in the coming months so you'll be sure to hear from us quite a bit.

Chad with his morning oatmeal


  1. Wow! I can't wait to hear and see more! When will the virtual tour be up and running???

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  2. Is the picture of Chad and his oatmeal your bedroom? Where are the doors? How do you not get wet when it rains? Does it snow in winter? Can you send me a homegrown pineapple when you figure it out? Love you! Anna

  3. Looks gorgeous! Would you be interested in a visitor or two in July? Please check your email :)